Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail

PCT thru hiker talks style, gear, foot fungus, on 5,300 mile hike.

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by Ryan Jordan | 2007-02-20 03:00:00-07

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Podcast Overview

Scott Williamson is best known for his thru-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail. He has walked the trail nine times in its entirety, including a Yo-Yo from Mexico to Canada and back - twice.

Ryan Jordan interviewed Scott from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007 in Salt Lake City. Ryan and Scott chat about a number of topics from his 191-day Yo-Yo of the PCT in 2006, including the psychological challenge of touching the Canadian border and having to turn around and go back; on-trail surgery for septic blood poisoning; the use of ultralight footwear (by Inov8) for long-distance hiking; and more.

Scott is featured in an upcoming film about long distance hiking on the PCT entitled Tell It On the Mountain.

Selected Gear

  • Backpack: ULA Conduit
  • Footwear: Inov8 Flyroc 310s
  • Hiking Clothes: Patagonia running shorts, polyester t-shirt, wide brimmed hat
  • Shelter: 7x12 Silnylon Tarp
  • Sleeping: Homemade Synthetic Quilt
  • Cooking Style: stoveless
  • Snow Gear for High Sierra in the Fall: ULA Helix Potty Trowel, Optimus white gas stove, Shires' TarpTent, Patagonia MicroPuff Jacket...

Photos

 REVIEW SPOTLITE REVIEW - 1
Scott Williamson, PCT thru-hiker, and first person to Yo-Yo the PCT from Mexico - to Canada - and back.

 REVIEW SPOTLITE REVIEW - 2
Scott Williamson on the PCT in Oregon.

 REVIEW SPOTLITE REVIEW - 3
A Yo-Yo finished: atop the Monument at the southern terminus of the PCT on the border between the United States and Mexico.

Tell it on the Mountain: The Movie

View the Trailer:


Download Video

Related Links:


Citation

"Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail," by Ryan Jordan. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/podcast_2007_scott_williamson.html, 2007-02-20 03:00:00-07.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail


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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail on 02/20/2007 22:14:07 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Bitrate on 02/21/2007 09:42:20 MST Print View

Dr. J et al,
I'm a composer, electronic musician, and do some audio engineering, so perhaps I'm just too picky. But the 64kbps bitrate of the podcasts drives me nuts! I know it saves you all bandwidth and saves those of us who don't have broadband a lot of time; however, making a 192kbps (or even 128 or 160kbps with a high variable bit rate quality, if you'd like to save some space while still keeping the quality high) version available in addition to the current 64kbps version would make me really happy. Perhaps you could make those files "members only" in order to save bandwidth charges?

In any case, I think the reduction of digital noise, better representation of the speakers' voices, and enhanced ambient sound would make the podcasts a more professional, intimate, and enjoyable experience.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Bitrate on 02/21/2007 10:11:52 MST Print View

I agree.

Slim Whitman

Stephen Boyd
(sim)

Locale: Minnesowtah
Re: Re: Bitrate on 02/21/2007 10:31:24 MST Print View

"so perhaps I'm just too picky"

Yep....I agree as well....you definately do come across as a little too picky. :-)

Sorry...couldn't resist!

I download them through I-Tunes and listen to them on my Ipod while I'm on the treadmill or walking the dog. Drives me crazy to sit in front of the computer and listen to podcasts. I try to do that and then surf the net at the same time and then I miss something.

Steve

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Bitrate on 02/21/2007 11:14:46 MST Print View

I'd just like to "second" this opinion to make it known that this is a big issue for me. The joy of listening to an interview is very, very lost for me when I can hear the limitations of mp3 audio. Record these at a high-quality bitrate (320kbps plus) for archival purposes and downsample them to a minimum resolution of 128kbps for download.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Bitrate on 02/21/2007 11:43:14 MST Print View

I'll just weigh in w/the opp. pt. of view.

They sound fine to me. It's NOT like its Von Karajan conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker in an evening of Beethovan's Symphonies. It's speaking voice; it's NOT Lucia Popp performing the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart's Magic Flute Opera.

Anyways, you can discount my opinion as i'm old and [tone] deaf (and sing like a male version of Florence Foster Jenkins! - in other words, "Who is strangling that cat?"!!!).


That said, stay the way it is, or improve the quality, either way, makes no diff. to me.

Just wanted BPL to know that there is a least one satisfied customer.

John Baird
(jbaird) - F

Locale: Deleware Watergap A_T
Oh that ipod on 02/21/2007 12:50:05 MST Print View

PJ
I was waiting on a 40 page comparison on the reduction of digital noise, better representation of the speakers' voices, and enhanced ambient sound between 64kbps bitrate to 92kbps with a high variable bit rate qualities.
Where are you when we need you?

My attempt at humor (at your expense) A feeble one at that.
I did enjoy reading your comparisons and look for more in the future. (no…. really)

JB

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Bitrate on 02/21/2007 13:25:47 MST Print View

I've not been involved in the podcast effort, but want everybody to know your input is much appreciated and will be taken into consideration.

From my research, affordable digital field recorders tend not to have super high bitrates, so that's perhaps one limitation in our chain. My suspicion, having worked in radio and television aeons ago, is that the microphone remains the most important link and we may need to investigate upgrading there.

Finally, there's the size of the download, which needs to be manageable for our dialup members. It might be that someday we can have low and high-bandwidth versions available.

Blazing new paths here, so keep the comments coming!

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Recorders + Mics on 02/21/2007 14:28:23 MST Print View

Glad someone called me out on being too picky! :)

I'm not sure that this falls into the "affordable" category, but the Roland R-09 will record up to 24-bit/48kHz WAV and 320kbps MP3 files and costs around $400. I have one, and it actually records quite nicely just on it's own, especially with it's built-in low cut filter on.

If a microphone was needed, the Electrovoice RE-50 is an old standby for a good, omnidirectional, dynamic microphone. It's $150 on Amazon, a good price for that mic.

I understand the position that BPL is in--starting a new feature, working out equipment issues while keeping money in mind, paying for additional bandwidth--as well as those who don't find the audio quality to be a problem. The quality has certainly been good enough to understand what's being said, and if that's the only objective, then everything's just fine. However, it would seem clear that hearing what's said really isn't the only objective; a transcript of an interview would do that just as well. No, it's not a Morton Feldman string quintet, a La Monte Young drone piece, or a Wagnerian opera, but it is human voices and their surroundings, which have just as much sonic depth in their own right.

I look forward to seeing BPL offer more options to suit varying tastes, love the podcasts (espcially this one!), and very much appreciate the fact that my opinions are heard and considered.

Thanks!

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Oh that ipod on 02/21/2007 15:06:07 MST Print View

Ah, John... very funny indeed. i'm crackin' up as i type this. IMO, there's no problem with humor at my expense - i too enjoy a good laugh.

I haven't done much with audio in 25yrs or so, so i'd hesitate to attempt any type of comparison, though i have (had???) a pretty good understanding of what used to be called ADPCM (now usually just PCM) encoding and some aspects of human speech and hearing having done some very early VR (voice recognition) research and development in 1980 and a few yrs afterwards - even a bit ahead of the boy genius Kurzweil at the time, - probably b/c we started b/f he did though!! But, he soon passed us due to no comittment fr/management on funding - turned out to be a mistake.

Anyways, thanks for the good laugh.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
PCT Yo_yo Podcast on 02/21/2007 15:48:07 MST Print View

Maybe I'm out of it, but I think the quality is fine. The content is of more concern to me and I really enjoyed this interview. Watched the trailer also and look forward to buying the DVD. Very inspirational. Thank you.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Recorders + Mics on 02/21/2007 16:47:52 MST Print View

Neither the equipment, nor the recording quality, is the limitation at this time. Carol and I both have R-09's, we record at 24bit/48kHz WAV, and we even have pro gear at HQ.

The limitation is bandwidth charges. I wanted to get a feel for how popular these were going to be if syndicated thru iTunes, and there is a good news/bad news story here.

Good news is that they are incredibly popular. We've been in the Top 25 for Sports & Rec > Outdoors since we launched, which is awesome, considering that most of the others are surf-ski-bike-skate.

Bad news is that the bandwidth costs money, so hang tight with us as this program evolves and we figure out how to make it sustainable at the traffic levels we are getting.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Re: Recorders + Mics on 02/21/2007 16:54:47 MST Print View

Ryan, I think they sound fine. I would rather you all use BPL's money on more reports and trips to describe to the readers. That is why I subscribe and have been thoroughly pleased. Don't sweat it.

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Gotcha on 02/21/2007 17:23:48 MST Print View

Bandwidth is always a major issue with online multimedia, so I understand where you're coming from. I also completely agree that the content and scope of BPL's articles and podcasts is much more important to me than having higher sound quality, and would never want quality of content to be sacrificed for quality of sound.

I've really enjoyed these podcasts, and I'm glad to know that many people, BPL subscribers and otherwise, have, too. Keep up the great and interesting work!

On another, much more important note...
Nine total thrus? TWO PCT Yo-Yos? And one in 191 days, WITH a terrible toe infection? Absolutely astonishing. Scott was really inspriational for me, as I've recently wholeheartedly committed myself to saving up money and planning for a PCT thru in 2008.

I'm also thrilled about "Tell It On the Mountain". In addition to all the obvious reasons why its a great idea, it'll be a great way to show my friends and family what I'm trying to do and perhaps help them understand why.

Thanks for this wonderful interview.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Fascinating interview on 02/21/2007 18:15:59 MST Print View

Interesting Trail magic miracle (toe)

Really good shoe info

and my old ears had no problem with the audio

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail on 02/21/2007 18:43:50 MST Print View

Not that this is news, but Scott also did a Podcast for the now defunct Trailcast.org series (a top-notch set of thru-hiking and gear afficiando interviews). I believe they are all still available for download, but if not, let me know and I'll help you out with copies of all of them.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail on 02/21/2007 18:46:45 MST Print View

Looking forward to listening to it at work tomorrow, on my IPod. I met Scott on the PCT this past summer, near Snoqualmie Pass. At the time I hadn't a clue who he was-until one of my friends caught up and told me. What was my impression? A happy man on the trail, very tall, very, very, very skinny and very nice. And did I mention skinny? I had a fleeting image of a very toned gazelle loping down the trail....unlike me, who felt like a lumbering bear ;-)

Michael Mathisen
(mathix)

Locale: Oregon
Person of interest on 02/21/2007 20:45:50 MST Print View

I enjoyed the heck out of this podcast. A few years ago I read an article in backpacker mag. on Scott's first PCT YO-YO. It was that article that got me interested in UL. What he has accomplished is really amazing. I'm looking forward to the DVD release

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail on 02/22/2007 04:20:39 MST Print View

Well Scot definately is a hardcore thru hiker. i do wonder whether it is wise to continue hiking with such an injury. Isn't this a way of your body telling you it's time to stop?

What are the risks you expose your body to on these long mileage days? I'd like to do a 7000 km thru hike once, I would also like to finish in good health.

Eins

John Baird
(jbaird) - F

Locale: Deleware Watergap A_T
Podcast: Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the Pacific Crest Trail on 02/22/2007 19:54:17 MST Print View

PJ,
Glad about that…. I'm new here and should probably shut up until I have something worthy to contribute.

jb